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Ad Design & Marketing: Tips and Ideas

5 Ways to Use Ad Design to Reach Your Marketing Goals

October 22, 2021
7 minutes


A strategic approach to ad design can help you keep your marketing strategy on track. This is how.

Many people confuse marketing with advertising. In truth, marketing is the process of promoting products or services and includes processes such as branding, market research and advertising.

Advertising is the creation of advertisements that help potential customers discover a product. Of course, while effective advertising can’t be achieved without a marketing strategy in place, specifically answers to the following questions:

  • What is your brand/product/service?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are the main marketing channels?
  • What are the main messages you wish to convey?
  • What are your marketing objectives (sales, brand awareness, community building, etc.)?

You should also make sure to determine your short vs long-term marketing objectives, which will also help you create ad design that supports these goals. Here’s why ad design is important for your marketing strategy with ideas on how it can help you improve your overall marketing efforts.

Create brand awareness

How many times have you remembered a product or service thanks to a memorable ad? Whether it’s a TV ad slogan that stays remembered for decades (Whazup), or iconic print designs like the “Got Milk” campaign, a creative ad can really help people remember your brand in a sea of competitors.

There are 4 main stages of brand awareness that you should know about:

  • Brand recall: people are able to remember the brand name in a specific product category.
  • Brand recognition: people are able to remember a brand name, when presented with visual or auditory stimuli, such as logos, colors, jingles, etc.
  • Top of mind: the brand name is the first or one of the first to come to people’s minds in a specific product category.
  • Brand dominance: the brand becomes synonymous with the product.

The point of effective ad design is to help your customers reach the stage where your brand is the only one that matters for them in a particular category—for example, you don’t go out to buy a “soda” when you want one, you always know you’re buying Coke.

Ad design should enforce a sense of brand identity, and help create a brand image in your customers’ minds.

A great example from the world of digital marketing is Neil Patel. Although this marketing guru’s rise to prominence is thanks to a stellar content marketing strategy, you can still see just how important ad design is, even in this case.

From website design to YouTube thumbnails, all the marketing assets have strong visual consistency. The color scheme and style are instantly recognizable, as well as the brand’s “face (Neil himself) which is an integral part of the ad design.

neil patel ad.png

Bond with your target audience with visual communication

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You’ve heard that a “picture is worth a thousand words”, but did you know that people remember 80% of what they see compared to just 20% of what they read?

You can see why something like this is a critical piece of information for designing marketing materials. Of course, copywriting is important, but without good design, it’s highly unlikely that people will remember your message.

That’s where great design comes in. This ad for an ice cream brand is so effective it literally didn’t require any copy. The message that the ice cream is so good you’d never allow yourself to drop it is something universally recognizable and therefore very powerful.

ice cream ad.png Ads of the World

Pop culture references are also a good way to attract your audience’s attention. These simple and effective ads were created by a creative agency to spread awareness on covid prevention measures. While my grandma would easily understand the ice cream ad above, she probably wouldn’t get the references with these ones. A visual language is therefore also a way to create a connection with your target audience, by making references they will understand.

This creates a bond between the audience and the brand, which will be beneficial as prospects move down your sales funnel.

covid movie 2.png

covid movie 1.png Ads of the World

Increase sales

One of the main reasons why businesses run ad campaigns is to boost their sales. Whether it’s a limited-time offer or a launch of a new product, a well-designed ad can really help you convert leads into paying customers.

Here are a few tips on how to make ad design work for your sales strategy:

  • Include a high-quality product shot if applicable.
  • Use bright colors: of course, this isn’t applicable for every industry or brand, but generally bright colors inspire more powerful and positive feelings.
  • Don’t overdo it with contrasts or all caps lettering: while it’s important to attract attention, being too on the nose about it might make people think your ads seem aggressive and discourage them from making a purchase.
  • Don’t use stock photos: custom design shows you care about your customers.
  • State your value proposition clearly: instead of just claiming your products are the best, make sure the message of how they make people’s lives better.
  • Include a clear call to action: this is where the knowledge of design principles such as contrast or hierarchy is helpful.
  • Use varied design: don’t run the same ad on all your marketing platforms; adjust ad design to suit the target audience and test out a few different options.

Of course, it goes without saying that even the best-designed ad is unlikely to drive major conversions if there is no good branding in place. You might get a couple of payments, but without a clear sense of brand identity, there can be no long-term success.

Make sure that you know what your brand is about and who your target audience is, before you start making choices on the design elements we mentioned above.

Learn how to design captivating digital ads

Get inspired by the catchiest and best-designed ads we found.

Social media ads can help you create a community

Like we said at the beginning, ad campaigns are not just there to help you boost your profit. Ultimately, the success of any brand is measured in the long term, and if you’re unable to keep the new customers you attract, it’s highly unlikely that your business can stay afloat for long.

Social media marketing is so prominent these days that many people confuse it with digital marketing altogether. There are several reasons why it’s so popular. First of all thanks to different marketing tools (from Facebook manager to third-party scheduling tools), people with very little experience can easily create and track campaigns.

Next, social media allows you the most refined audience targeting and enables you to show ads to the people most likely to be interested in your brand.

Finally, social media allows you to communicate with your audience. Great design, for ads or other social media marketing materials, should always encourage dialogue and feedback. This will allow you to create a lead generation system and deeper relationships with your customers. It’s also a critical part of market research.

Here’s a fun recent example of a Monday.com add. It invites audiences to participate in a fun little challenge, whilst also promoting what the company is all about: productivity and planning for everyone (not just the decision makers).

monday.com social media

Drive web traffic

You probably know that SEO is critical to ensure that your website ranks high in search engines. Search engine optimization encompasses several different aspects including:

  • Using the right keywords
  • Making sure loading speed is fast
  • Getting backlinks to your site

Another key aspect of a high-performing website or landing page is web design. A great user experience will entice people to stay on your page longer and therefore decrease your bounce rate. It’s also connected to technical optimization as well, for example, you need to ensure that images and videos are optimized for web use so as not to slow down your site.

Of course, another non-organic way to drive traffic to your web page is paid ads. Here are a few eye-opening stats:

  • Google Display Network reaches a whopping 94% of internet users (Wordstream)
  • Digital ads are predicted to make 56.1% of total ad spending in 2021 (eMarketer)
  • Native ads receive 53% more views and increase purchase intent by 18% (eMarketer)

Native ads are display ads placed in a relevant context so that they are more likely related to the users’ interests and intentions. Of course, aside from content, native ad design is really important to help people identify relevant information quickly.

Need great ad design?

Businesses need ad design on a rolling basis, and often it’s not possible to simply reuse old ads. Design needs to be aligned with your marketing strategy and help you reach a specific goal.

If you need quality design at an affordable monthly price, be sure to check out our service. Most ad designs will usually take just 1-2 business days to complete, so you can launch a great ad campaign in no time

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Danica Popovic

October 22, 2021

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.